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Cloud Tea Monkeys

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  536 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Carnegie Medalist Mal Peet and his wife, Elspeth Graham, team up for a captivating, lushly illustrated tale evoking a Chinese legend.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Tashi lives in a tiny village at the foot of the mountains, below the tea plantations where her mother works. When her mother falls ill, Tashi goes alone to the plantation, hoping to earn money for the doctor.
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published 2010 by Walker Books (first published 1999)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  536 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
Women work from dawn to dusk picking tea leaves for daily subsistence wages.
When Tashi's mother becomes too sick to move, how will they survive? Will the other women, who are friends and relatives, band together to help? Will the abusive overseer have a change of heart?

No. Miraculously, monkeys save the day. Tashi and her mother become rich and move. Screw all the other women, they can go on working themselves to death.

The pictures are nice, especially the landscape parts.

Juan Wijngaard
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Stunningly atmospheric, this simple, dramatic tale reads a bit like Jorge Luis Borges for kids. Tashi's mother is a tea picker in the foothills of the Himalayas. Their day is described in beautifully descriptive sensory terms, from the sweet scent of their morning tea to the "blurred red globe" of the sun on their walk home from work.

Every day, Tashi shares her lunch with the monkeys who frequent the tea fields. When her mother becomes too sick to work, despondent Tashi takes refuge with the mon
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories About Poverty and/or Featuring Beautiful Artwork
Originally published in 1999, and illustrated by Alan Marks, this tale of a Himalayan tea-picker's daughter has just been reprinted, with gorgeous new artwork by Juan Wijngaard! It follows the story of Tashi, who - considered too young to work - spends her time playing in the shade with the monkeys, while her mother works all day picking tea leaves in the huge plantation fields. When her mother becomes ill, and cannot work, and Tashi's efforts to take her place lead only to ridicule at the hands ...more
N. Hyett
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The “Cloud Tea Monkeys” is a great book to help inspire children to use their imagination about other parts of the world. The Book is about Tashi, a girl who lives in India with her mother. Her mother picks leaves in a tea plantation and one day she becomes ill, Tashi tries to pick tea leaves but is not tall or strong enough. Tashi often feeds monkeys and on this day whilst feeling sad she goes and sits with the monkeys and falls asleep, when she wakes up the basket is full of tea leaves. Long s ...more
Andrew Shute
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Despite this book having an element of challenging language this book would be a great read to children out loud.

I personally am a big fan of Asia and that part of the world and this book captivated me and I am sure would do the same for children if read out loud with the pictures being shown to them.

This book allows for children to be exposed to the harshness of real life (such as poverty, sickness, possible loss of family member) but allows them to explore this with safety and a realisation th
Sophie Crane
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Packed with poetic language!
Lovely story!
Rhian Niblett
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Tashi lives in a small village near a range of mountains in India. Her mother, aunt and other women in the village walk to the tea plantations in the mountains where they work every day under the watchful eye of the dreaded overseer. When her mother falls ill, Tashi decides to go alone to the plantation as she is worried they will not have enough money for the doctor. However she is too small to pick the ripe crops and gets very upset and goes to the monkeys and tells them her story. Some of the ...more
Katie Antrobus
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cloud Tea Monkeys is a book which explores the story of a young girl named Tashi. She lives with her family in a small village next to the Himalayan Mountains and the tea plantations. When her mother falls ill she is unable to continue to work on the tea plantations. This is when Tashi realises that she must step in to help support her family financially and pay for her mother to seek medical attention. However, this doesn’t go to plan as a cruel overseer refuses to allow her to work on the tea ...more
Linda McCarry
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my 11th Book Review: Cloud Tea Monkey's
By: Mal Peet,Elspeth Graham,Juan Wijngaard (Illustrator)

I recently had the pleasure of reading this book, and really enjoyed t, it is captivating from page 1. It is a story about a young girl called Tashi, who must go to work at the Tea plantation as her mother has fallen ill and cannot work. Tashi had been going with her mother to the tea field everyday before she got ill and whilst her mother and her aunt and the other women were busy picking tea
I absolutely loved this book! It is so well wrtitten and the language is so descriptive and imaginative. The story is about a girl, Tashi, and her mother who live below tea plantations in a tiny village. Tashi's mother gets ill and so cannot work on the plantations, so Tashi goes in her place to try earn enough money to pay for a doctor for her mother. The Overseer will not let her work as she is too small and young, so Tashi goes to sit with the monkeys. Now a miracle happens! The monkeys climb ...more
Apr 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
“The sun had not yet found a way through the mountains, but it was coming; a light the color of lemons was soaking into the sky and painting out the stars.”

Why do bees buzz? How does thunder shake, rattle, and roll? Where does the best tasting tea come from?

I have always adored legends, myths, and tall tales. They add a dash of magic to the why, how, and where of the “simple” things in life. For me, the little things are what add up to make life magical!

This book combines gorgeous words and de
Stuart Willy
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cloud Tea Monkey’s – Mal Peet & Elspeth Graham (Illustrated by Juan Wijngaard)
Tashi’s mother works on a tea plantation and they live together in a small hut. As a small girl, when her mother becomes ill, Tashi is not best placed to try and make ends meet. Or pay for a doctor However, she gamely tries by dragging the heavy tea collecting basket to the plantation but when the greedy overseer mocks her in front of her aunt the future looks bleak. Just at this point she meets some monkeys she has lo
Nikita Shah
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully illustrated captivating book. The story is about an innocent young girl, Tashi whose mother is unwell. Out of her kindness she strength she goes to work where her mother would usually work, at the plantation. Here she is working under the watchful eye of the Overseer who is depicted as a resented character as he is humoured by her attempt to work at the plantation. Regardless of this, Tashi goes off to work and is met by a group of monkeys who help her. A twist of magic lea ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tashi lives in a small village with her mother who works at a tea plantation. When her mother falls ill it is up to Tashi to go to work at the tea plantation to earn money to pay for a doctor. Tashi manages to carry the heavy tea basket to the plantation, only to encounter the angry Overseer who mocks her attempt to pick tea as she is far too small to reach the tops of the bushes. Tashi is left felling upset until the monkeys come, take her basket and climb high above the clouds to pick her the ...more
Nicola O
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This story is set in a small village in a faraway land where a young girl named Tashi lives. Tashi’s life is one day transformed when her poor mother falls very ill. The people in Tashi’s village grow tea leaves, which is their lively hood and when Tashi’s mother fell ill she had no other choice but to go and pick tea leaves, however, she struggled greatly. One day she was at the foot of the mountains feeling down, and then large monkeys took her heavy basket and climbed high into the mountains ...more
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Cloud Tea Monkeys is a beautifully illustrated and descriptive story about tea-picking in the Himalayas and a legend which surrounds this trade. The story has been inspired by 'tea-picking tales... found from the high mountain countries of the Himalayan region - where the finest tea grows'. Within the story character description is rich and the story is compelling, whilst being complemented by a wealth of illustrations that are rich and colourful and portray amazing landscapes and characters ali ...more
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
This book has the feel of a folk tale in a wordy picture book format. It is not clear exactly where the story takes place, although the authors' note at the end says it is somewhere in high mountain countries of the Himalayas. The clothing depicted in the beautiful illustrations appears similar to clothing worn in India or Pakistan. The story concerns women who pick tea leaves on tea plantations in the mountains. Tashi, a little girl who spends the day near her mother as her mother fills a baske ...more
Apr 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This story follows a young girl named Tashi and her mother who picks tea leaves in the tea plantations until one day Tashi's mother falls ill. Tashi worries that her mothers absence from work will mean money will be an issue so she decides to take matters into her own hands. Mal Peet writes a fascinating fable story with themes of friendship and special things such as tea embedded within it. I really enjoyed this gentle story. Personally, I think this would be an excellent story to read to year ...more
Simone Lavinier
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is suitable for both KS1 and KS2 children as there are lessons to be learnt for all age groups and it is an enjoyable read. The illustrations are spectacular, captivating and adds to the richness of the descriptive language used. The tale is set in the Himalayan regions and describes a girl named Tashi, who attempted to take her mother’s place as a tea-harvester due to an unexpected illness. Tashi soon realises that she is too small for the job and is shown no mercy by the Overseer. Wh ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful folk tale is about a young girl named Tashi who lives at the foot of the mountains. Her mother works on the plantations nearby picking tea leaves. One day her mother falls ill so Tashi decides to take her place and drags the basket to the plantations. The Overseer belittles Tashi and discourages her as she is too young so Tashi goes to rest amoung the shadows of the Cloud Mountains. Then a miracle takes place. Monkeys come to her aid, climb up in to the clouds and fill Tashi's bas ...more
Gemma  Edwards
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Tashi and her mother who live on a tea plantation in India. When Tashi’s mum falls ill, Tashi goes along in place of her mother to pick tea and try to earn money to pay for a doctor. The plantation owner ridicules her and sends her away. Tashi tells her problems to a group of monkeys that she has befriended and somehow at the end of the day, her basket is full of beautiful, fresh tea leaves, a rare type of tea known as ‘Cloud Tea’. Not wanting to spoil the story, suffice to ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Based on old traditional tales from the past about tea-picking this story is of the most special tea in the world - 'cloud tea'.

This tale is of a little girl names Tashi and her mother who works in a tea plantation picking the tea leaves. This is until she falls ill and Tashi takes it upon herself to do her mother's work so she can pay for a doctor. She goes to the tea plantation but is soon belittled and laughed at by the tea plantation Overseer as she is too small to reach the good leaves at
Jan 19, 2014 rated it liked it
A good illustrated book telling a tale about a little girl named Tashi who lives with her mum in the foothills of a mountain where there are tea plantations. She accompanies her mother to the plantations where she works and mingles with monkeys whilst her mum is picking the tea. One day her mother falls sick that she cannot go to work. Tashi goes to the plantations in place of her mother but the overseer ridicules her. However with the help of her friends the monkeys she is able to have a large ...more
Colleen Mckenna
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fatheha Begum
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A wonderful picture book about a girl in a tea growing country (India) whose mother is sick. The girl goes to pick tea leaves for the overseer instead of her mother but he turns her away. As she cries, some monkeys take her tea basket and go high in the mountains, above the clouds and bring her the very best tea,something very precious and rare, for which the tea taster for the empress pays her kindly.From then onwards every year the empress expects Tashi to bring him the cloud tea.Will the monk ...more
Maeve Harrison
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book about a young girl called Tashi who one day, must go to work instead of her mother as she is ill. Tashi is mocked and ridiculed for her efforts, by the Overseer at the Tea plantation, who she depicts as a cruel man. She is on the verge of giving up and goes to her usual hiding place with the monkeys, who take her basket and climb high up the mountains above the clouds. At this point Tashi has given up and rests in this place for a while when all of a sudden the monkeys c ...more
This is a lovely book with excellent writing and beautiful illustrations. The descriptions are fantastic: "he looked like a man whose brain was on fire" was a favourite of mine! This would be a brilliant story to read aloud to children of 6-7 because although it is long for a read aloud book and uses challenging vocabulary, it is good for children to be exposed to advanced language and they will be captivated by the illustrations.

I would like to use this books as a 'springboard' with older child
Tharema Alim
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book during PGCE English lesson and when it was placed on the table I just could not wait to get the chance to read it. I felt like a little girl in a candy shop just waiting for the moment to dig in to read it. I think the front cover of the book is so mysterious and so is the title which gets you thinking what it could be about. Once given the chance to read the book it was such a wonderful read filled with so many similes and metaphors, it had such rich language that made reading ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cloud Tea Monkeys is a wonderfully told story depicting the realistic hard work that goes into sourcing and picking tea! The story tells of how Tashi's mother and the other women of the area walk long distances to work on the tea plantations in the heat, it is a place of hard work, a mean boss and scorching heat, but a place of necessity all the same. For Tashi, however, it is a place of wonder, joy and fun, as it is here that she plays with the monkeys. When her mother falls ill the monkeys hel ...more
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Cloud Tea Monkeys 1 2 May 02, 2016 06:57AM  
UEL Primary PGCE ...: Humanities 1 2 May 04, 2015 12:17PM  
UEL Primary PGCE ...: English 1 1 Apr 28, 2015 01:05PM  
UEL Primary PGCE ...: Cloud Tea Monkeys 1 1 Apr 27, 2015 10:32AM  

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Mal Peet grew up in North Norfolk, and studied English and American Studies at the University of Warwick. Later he moved to southwest England and worked at a variety of jobs before turning full-time to writing and illustrating in the early 1990s. With his wife, Elspeth Graham, he had written and illustrated many educational picture books for young children, and his cartoons have appeared in a numb ...more

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